The CMO evolution and new role

CMO EvolutionThe days of 30” tv-spot are over. The time, when kpi’s like awareness, top-of-mind and preference were the only thing that defined whether the campaign was a success or not are behind us. The era of pre-planning emphasis, execution and analysis post campaign is no longer sufficient. Intuition and gut feeling founded concepting that you buy and accept with a leap of faith gets a CMO fired now.

Just a couple of year ago the CMO was a god, creator, in his silo. CMO has a lot of money at his disposal and he could make decisions solo. This is why agencies and media concentrated all their focus on CMO. In many cases CMO’s had and still do, more liquid cash than any other director in the same company. These resources, as they are liquid and easily saved, have often been the first to face budget cuts in case of a down turn.

Today, CMO’s position has become tremendously more influential inside organization, or it has lost ground. The reason to this is, that the corporate boards have become more demanding and aware of the possibilities out there. In those companies where the role of CMO has diminished, measurement and proof of ROI has not been established. In those organisations, where CMO’s influence has increased, the CMO has become the owner of customer intelligence, customer interface and –experience innovator. In such an organization the KPI’s are clear and the decisions that CMO does have a solid ground founded on data and analytics along with great insights and concepts.

Marketing emphasis has moved from mass-media and advertising concepts to..

  1. existing customers, their lifetime value and loyalty
  2. own customer interfaces, their capacity to invite new visitors and prospects and further, convert visitors to customers and sales
  3. how to do more with less by using automation, how you use technology to serve and inspire customers and adapt to individual customers needs and preferences in an omni-channel environment
  4. customer insights, how the organization can innovate products and service and create competitive edge
  5. how to create a strong brand founded on real experiences and capacity to deliver

In case there is an able CMO in the board, there’s no need for Chief Customer Officer or Chief Digital Officer. These positions are often created because there is no-one capable of tearing down silos and making the change happen. In my opinion these positions are either short-term change enablers.. or they eat an old fashioned CMO for lunch. The five things listed on the todo-list, can often be found on the list of corporate must win battles in many companies. Someone will take care of them anyway.

The role of CMO is an outstanding opportunity to really influence corporate success. In my opinion CMO’s are in the key position to really drive success in most must win battles, like these:


  • Best customer experience (Goals: loyalty, LTV, cross & upsell, high NPS)
  • Innovative solutions: Creation of competitive advantage, distinctive and special offering capable of delivering substantial value, high quality
  • Continuous and cost-efficient new business (Goals: brand recognition and image, demand generation and stronger new customer conversion)


  • Lean and effective operations and processes – strong bottomline (Goals: highly productive organisation capable of delivering superb customer experience at comparatively low expences by using new technologies, online environment and automation)


  • Catalyst for winning corporate culture: Inspirational and very satisfying workplace capable of understanding and driving development and change. Recognition as very prominent employer for hungry and innovative new talent, Topline growth energize the company’s employees and focus their minds on opportunities, innovation and growth

Article suggestions:

Admap best practice article: How to map customer journey
Marketing’s new and re-designed 7P’s
Managing Brand – The most profound KPI’s and measures /
From marketing automation to service automation
Marketing Do or Die – managing customer interfaces

What about others? How do you approach marketing attribution measurement and planning in omni-channel environment?

About Author

Toni Keskinen ,Chief Editor for Future CMO Movement (


Leave your comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s